Scandinavian activists have launched a ship bound for Gaza in the hopes of breaking the Israeli blockade that has been imposed upon coastal residents since 2006.The leader of the Norwegian section of the group “Ship to Gaza,” Torstein Dahle, told Reuters that the groups’ goals were the same as that of previous flotillas, namely to end the blockade and bring relief to the people of Gaza.

The ‘SV Estelle’ sailed from Oslo on Tuesday and is backed by mostly Swedish and Norwegian groups. Organizers hope that other ships will join them before they reach Gaza in October and help to raise the public’s awareness of the issue.

In May of 2010, the “Freedom Flotilla” attempted to defy the Israeli blockade and deliver medical supplies to Gaza when the ships were boarded by the Israeli military who killed nine people on board one of the ships.

Should the Israeli military attempt to stop them, the activists noted that they will not resist as they have a very small contingent of people on board who are all adherents to the principles of non-violence.

The official Israeli position is that the blockade is in place to prevent arms smuggling to the Palestinians. However this does not account for why international aid organizations bringing medical and humanitarian relief supplies have also been kept out during the blockade.